. a wrenching decision. >> as long as i am commander in chief, america is going to do right by them. >> reporter: a former defense secretary urged the president to hurry. >> what is important he make a decision and make it reasonably soon. you've got young men and women out there carrying the battle who are at great risk. if we've got the wrong strategy, change it. >> reporter: again today, the commander in chief met with advisers. he's getting more optis. besides afghan commanding general stan mccrystal's call for 40,000 more troops and vice president biden's plan to send as few as 10,000, there are middle ground plans for 30,000 more reportedly backed by defense secretary gates, secretary of state clinton and by chairman of the joint chiefs mullen. that's almost as many new forces as mccrystal's requesting, but president obama is looking past numbers to the troops' revamped mission. >> go back to focusing on al qaeda, back to pushing back taliban to the extent that we can stabilize karzai's government enough so we can actual begin withdrawal from the region. >> reporter: short term, more u.s.